Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Is Church Embarrassing?

I continued my unprecedented streak of church attendance Sunday, making it three weeks in a row. If anyone had actually noticed me showing up, I would count as a "re-activated male." I don't know if they still do that statistic, but during my mission we had to report every week how many men were reactivated (sorry, ladies, I guess you don't count). To count, these men had to attend for three straight weeks, so I assume three straight weeks of non-attendance would officially make one inactive. I could keep coming three weeks on and three weeks off to help the local missionaries bolster their stats.

I am happy to report that one of the sister missionaries gave the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting. I think the First Presidency should send out a letter instructing bishops to have women do the invocations for a couple of weeks, just so everyone can get over that silly tradition.

Anyway, as I was sitting all the way in the back during Sacrament Meeting (feeling a little silly because the cultural hall was nearly empty), I realized that each week I've been analyzing the meeting to see how my wife would react. Maude and I occasionally attend the Episcopalian Church together but she has never been to a Mormon meeting. She thinks she'll be stared at for not conforming to the dress code, even though I assured her we could hide out in the back pew. I don't really care if she goes or not, but I'd like her to come at least once so she can see that we're not really that crazy.

Each meeting I've been trying to notice the things she'd notice and analyze if she'd be offended or not. I was glad I didn't take her to April's Fast Sunday, which featured a paean to the greatness of John Paul II (she's not a fan). The Father's Day meeting was fine but had a really terrible High Council talk. It sounded like he was winging it, and it featured a long, rambling explanation about how elephant herds fall apart without bull elephants. Yeah, great stuff.

This Sunday's meeting was almost ideal: there was a confirmation of a convert baptism, highly visible minority priesthood-holders, and a nice (if overly long) musical number (classical music, not a cheesy Michael McLean number). Other churches don't have the same problem that we do with widely varying Sunday meetings. They might change the reading from the scriptures, but it's still the same priests giving the sermons. They have the entire Mass scripted; after the sacrament, ours is more of a potluck.

I think my best bet is to take her on a Fast Sunday. It's risky, I know, but the testimonies in this ward have been pretty safe in the past. I think the open format would be much more interesting than last week's three dull talks on the Fifth Article of Faith (it can barely sustain one talk, let alone three).

Am I setting myself up here for the wackiest testimony meeting ever? Do you ever envy the consistent, traditional masses of other churches? Am I over-thinking this whole thing?

Cross-posted at Nine Moons. Please comment there.